The female archetype – Who is she?
“Female archetypes teach us how to tune into our lives and what we need to pay more attention to.”
There are many female archetypes to explore in various ways, however the four female archetypes of the menstrual cycle that I like to connect to are – the Maiden (also known as the Virgin), the Mother, the Enchantress otherwise known as Witch or Wild Woman and the Crone or, as I prefer to call her, the Wise Woman. Your interpretation of the female archetype is personal to you, it’s fluid and ever changing and open to interpretation.
As cyclical beings, women are in a constant state of flux, moving from one phase to the next. We’re not the same today as we were yesterday, and tomorrow we’ll be different still, but by becoming familiar with each archetype, you’ll be able to observe how her energy and behaviour manifests itself in you, or is being stifled, as you move through each monthly cycle, season and phase of your life. If she’s not able to release her usefulness, the frustration caused by stifling her behaviour can result in physical or mental disturbances.
For example, some women may go through motherhood expressing their archetypal ‘Mother’ energy and behaviour so strongly that their inner ‘Maiden’ is forsaken resulting perhaps in feelings of disempowerment and disconnection. And perhaps in this phase, with all the duties and responsibilities that motherhood brings, there’s no place for the Enchantress or Witch to show herself too often, leading to feelings of anger, impatience or frustration.
When we cannot embrace all aspects of ourselves it’s almost as though certain parts of who we really are start to feel like they have been abandoned and forgotten, meaning that we can lose our way and feel that something is missing.
As women, we can cycle through the archetypes each day, each month, each lunar cycle and throughout our lives. By tuning into our archetypal energies and behaviours, we can connect more deeply with our own cycles of our womanhood. We can see who we are and we can spot when something is missing.
I prefer to use the term Maiden as this archetype is more to do with a state of mind than a sexual status. She’s the energy type that we see just after we have finished our bleed. She represents rebirth and is associated with the spring phase of our menstrual cycle and the Springtime of the year.
Often unmarried, self-contained, pure, independent, strong and uncorrupted, the Maiden appears when women follow their own desires and ideas for themselves. She’s full of enthusiasm. She’s intelligent and practical, authentic and supremely self-confident, juggling work and life effortlessly.
In a society where the role of women was to look after others before all else, the Maiden was often thought of as being selfish. But, as our culture is changing and women all over the world are starting to follow their hearts and dreams, the Maiden is making a comeback. She’s being accepted and embraced. Life is no longer just all about marriage, motherhood and bringing up children.
Do you ever see your inner Maiden? She is there and you can coax her out, but you’ll probably need to change the way you do things to satisfy your own wants and needs.
- Make plans – be proactive, make things happen, don’t just react to your situation.
- Be assertive – ask for what you want.
- Inspire and motivate yourself through what you read, watch or listen to; don’t hold yourself back.
- Be yourself, embrace your individuality.
- Celebrate the success of other women and support them to make the changes they need to make.
- Join an organisation close to your heart, connect with people who have the similar goals and beliefs.
- Dress in a way that makes you feel confident and strong. Whatever that may be – for some it might be killer heels, for others perhaps something more comfortable like yoga pants or leggings and a simple top. There are no rules.
- Work on strengthening your solar plexus chakra which governs your self-esteem and helps you feel ambitious, confident and brave enough to take risks and take action.
- Use essential oils such as frankincense, rose, sandalwood and geranium to give you clarity and boost your self-esteem.
- Give yourself time to rest. It’s all too easy to burn out when the Maiden is queen.
Our Mother archetype appears most strongly during the ovulatory phase of our monthly cycles – the high energy summer phase.
As well as giving birth and nurturing (whatever you create – children, projects, ideas), the Mother archetype has great inner strength, wisdom, ingenuity and a strong connection to Mother Earth and the natural cycles of nature. Her energy is nurturing rather than controlling and she enables us to bloom in our own rights.
The focus of the Mother archetype is presence, attention and care, allowing us to protect and nurture both our real and metaphorical offspring, our environment and ourselves. She gives us the clarity to have an unbiased view of ourselves and our lives.
When our Mother archetype is strong and free, we will feel the need to nurture our mind, body and soul, honour ourselves and practice self-care without feeling guilt or that it’s an unnecessary luxury, acknowledging that we can only make positive changes outside ourselves if we look after our own inner health and wellbeing from a place of self-love.
Our inner Mother is high energy, she’s a doer, but it’s important that we channel her energy in the right way, neither smothering and suppressing it nor becoming so active and doing so much that we end up exhausted and burnt out.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your Mother archetype grounded and healthy:
- Slow down and enjoy the present moment. There’s no need to chase what you don’t have and don’t need.
- Simplify your life; declutter and concentrate on what really matters without becoming distracted.
- Forget perfection; you’re good enough as you are.
- Implement a simple ritual in your life, perhaps by keeping a journal or performing a Full Moon celebration.
- Be resourceful – use what you already have rather than buying something new; ask for help from friends or conversely manage on your own for once, help yourself feel supported.
- Learn something new, something practical – perhaps make some jam, change the wheel on your car or fix that annoying dripping tap. You never know what you can do until you try; challenge yourself.
- Get involved in your community; give your time and attention and help others.
- Connect with Mother Earth, maybe try gardening or get out in the countryside.
- Work on strengthening your heart chakra to maintain your emotional balance and aim to treat yourself and others non-judgementally and with unconditional love.
- Chart your menstrual cycle and tune into both your own monthly cycle and the cycles of nature, the moon and the seasons of the year.
- Wear comfortable, unrestrictive clothes, feel free as you move.
ENCHANTRESS (WITCH OR WILD WOMAN)
Our Witch archetype appears during the pre-menstrual autumn phase of our menstrual cycle or the perimenopausal phase of our lives. She’s now becoming less energetic and more reflective and self-focused, honouring and nurturing her own needs.
In the same way that in folk law, the witch was often dreaded, many women fear their inner Witch archetype – because this can be a painful phase of our menstrual cycle and a darker side of ourselves may emerge. However, it could be that pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)results from us unconsciously stifling the energy of our Witch archetype at this time. Our inner Witch wants us to spend time alone and she may also show her dark side by pushing people away unkindly without realising it.
Our inner Witch is a healer. She’s the medicine woman inside us that knows that we can’t keep forging forwards if we don’t step back every now and again to reflect and accept and integrate everything we’ve learnt along the way. She knows that healing isn’t about applying a plaster, putting our heads down and just carrying on, but that it needs time to drill down to the root of the problem.
The key to embracing your inner Witch is to listen intently to what your body is telling you, and act accordingly with self-love and care.
Here are some things to try to keep your Witch healthy and happy:
- Spend time alone in reflection – sacred time for you.
- Create a space in your home where you can find peace, maybe a simple altar or a quiet corner with fresh flowers and your oil diffuser.
- Create some breathing space and meet yourself – have a digital detox or cancel some of the appointments on your calendar.
- Set boundaries; don’t just jump into action when someone shouts.
- Ask for help if you need it – with the children, at home or at work.
- Eat well – choose foods that are rich in fibre and B vitamins to balance your hormones and get your moods under control. And definitely avoid soya products at this time if there are hormonal issues going on.
- Work to strengthen your throat chakra which is associated with surrender, helping you to accept your responsibilities, let go of what no longer serves you and speak your truth.
- Nurture and nourish your body with a healing Mizan Abdominal Massage, hot magnesium bath or natural face mask.
- Get outside in nature, reflecting and soothing and dealing with any emotional pain.
WISE WOMAN (CRONE)
Our Wise Woman archetype emerges at our bleed time, the winter phase of our menstrual cycle.
She represents aging and a loss of fertility and beauty and is characterised by being tired, achy and slow, but this is society’s view and it doesn’t have to be this way. Many women I know in this phase find a new lease of life here!
She’s sensitive, quiet and reflective and represents the metaphorical death and renewal. But she’s wise – she’s who you turn to for guidance as you move forward on your personal journey.
Physically, we are bleeding because we didn’t become pregnant and can’t support a potential new life; our wombs are releasing their life-source. Emotionally, the energy of the Wise Woman archetype represents the transition from the darkness of the Witch to wisdom, but to do this she needs us to be patient and slow down before she can reveal our inner truth and our true selves, allowing us to process the experiences we’ve had and the lessons we’ve learnt in readiness for our renewal and rebirth.
In modern society, the Wise Woman is often suppressed and unable to emerge, so here are a few things for you to try to embrace her presence:
- Join a women’s circle, hold a New Moon ceremony or spend time tuning into your inner self. Contact me if you’re interested in joining my women’s circle.
- Try one of my guided meditations.
- Trust your instincts; go with your ‘gut’.
- Plan your day with intention.
- Resist the urge to judge yourself; find out how self compassionate you are and make appropriate changes to your life.
- Connect with your bleed, using a moon cup or reusable sanitary products.
- Slow down and listen to your inner self, reflect and gain insight.
- Let go of that which no longer serves you – feelings and emotions, physical things, relationships, whatever.
- Don’t resist change, go with the flow. After all the Wise Woman is the queen of transformation; she may be scary to start with, but she will guide you to rebirth and renewal.
- Value you own experiences and share this wisdom with others without forcing your own opinion upon them.
- Practice self-love – look yourself in the eye in the mirror and dive into the depths of what you see.
- Embrace your physical appearance, accepting all that is you.
- Enhance your intuition by placing some deep purple amethyst next to your pillow.
I specialise in working with women one to one and enjoy being part of their journey of reconnection and self-discovery. I support women to find more balance and harmony in their lives by deepening their inner connection to their own body’s needs, helping them cope pre-conception, with fertility issues, prenatally, postnatally or during times of transition, grief or loss and helping alleviate the symptoms of menstruation, perimenopause or menopause.
If you feel that you would benefit from some nurturing allwoman support, please get in touch.